I have set up this section and the following pages to correspond with the articles that I post in the Virginia Chevelle enthusiast Association VCEA news letters.
This is the first of many articles to come in VCEA's newsletters. In this first article let me give some background information to bring everyone up to speed. First off, Jim North, the VCEA President, and I were on a trip to Carlisle PA. Swap meet having a conversation and he referred to my wagon project as “the Super Wagon” and it stuck on me from there. The super wagon project is a complete frame-off re-construction of a 1970 Chevelle station wagon. I use the word re-construction because it is not a restoration. Not mush of the original vehicle will remain. This will not be an SS clone, but a classic rebuild of a sleeper wagon with modern technology upgrades. The plans are listed here on the right. I already have everything for it, I just need to do it! These articles will lead you right up to where I am currently.
For those of you not interested in wagons, HANG ON! There are lots of shared components to its little brother, the Chevelle. I will also be making many modifications to improve the 33 year-old performance.
1970 SUPER WAGON SPECS
454 Built Around 500hp, Th400, 273 12-Bolt Posi
Ceramic Coated Headers & 3" Exhaust
El Camino Boxed Frame W/ Braces
1-3/8" Front And Rear Sway Bars
Polygraphite Front, Rear & Body Bushings
Boxed Front & Rr Control Arms & Hop Stop Bars
Quick Ratio Power Steering Box
4-Wheel Power Disk Brakes, 12" B-Body Fronts
16" Corvette Rally Wheels, 5 On 5" Lug Pattern
Nos Bumpers W/ Guards
Nos Fenders & Inner (Plastic) Fender Wells
Nos Full Functioning Cowl Hood W/ Pins
Nos Front & Rear Fiber Optic Light Monitoring
Nos Rocker Panel & Wheel Well Molding
Ss Dash With Big Block Tack
Tilt & (Functioning) Cruise Control Column Shift
Washer Fluid Monitor System
Nos Modified Hood Locking System From Cutlass
Nos Low Coolant Level System From Vega
72 Skylark Coolant Over Flow Reservoir
Low Oil Sensor From 91 Ford Oil Pan
Under Hood Light
Power Windows, Including Tailgate
Power Vent Windows
Dual Action Tail Gate
Third Seat W/ Courtesy Light
All Black Interior
73 El Camino Swivel Bucket Seats
Roof Rack & Nos Ski Rack (Not Going To Mount It)
Nos Rear Air Deflector
Air Conditioning Converted To New Freon
6 Speaker Stereo/Cd Player
New Carpet, Headliner
Fiber Optic Ash Tray Light & Map Light
Class Three Trailer Hitch
Nos Vanity Mirror And Tissue Dispenser
Nos Stainless Vent Shades, Window Trim
Ford Escort Dual Remote Mirrors (Perfect Fit)
Stainless Steel Fuel And Brake Lines
New Tinted Windshield
Almost Every Nut and Bolt New
Some of the many mods include making the 4-door sedan into a 4-door hard top (no posts between the door windows), 4 wheel disc brakes, fuel injected 468 CID BB w/cowl induction, th400 trans, 273 posi rear, boxed frame, every power option available from GM, such as power windows, locks, tilt wheel, fiber optic monitoring system, AC, rear defogger… and plenty of upgrades such as pulse wipers, cable operated hood lock, disc parking brake, quick ratio steering, 16” 5 on 5” lug wheels and much much more.
Currently the wagon is completely striped down and disassembled. It is my honor to document this development with you from the very beginning. I an coincidently at the point in which every car enthusiast likes to hurtle, and that is the point in which the stripping shown procedure is over, now its time to work the other direction back up putting clean parts together.
Having owned many Chevelles since my very fist car which was a 1970 Chevelle that I have been fortunate enough to hold onto to this day (the yellow Chevelle in the picture below on the left), Wagons are particularly interesting to me because they are much more useful. With the Chevelle generation growing up and having families, the wagon is the ultimate in SUVs. I can through the whole family and the dogs in it, tow trailers, haul parts to shows, drive safely in a stylish sleeper that the Cops leave alone and do all that in an overgrown Chevelle powerhouse. Not to mention that with the 116” longer wheel base, the wagon noticeably tracks better at high speeds.
This particular wagon has an amazing history. Some time in January of 1998 I visited a junkyard. I saw this virtually complete and rust free 1970 wagon surrounded by other cars with the words “crush” written all over it.
I never really paid any attention to wagons but figured many of the parts were the same as Chevelles. I left with out getting anything. I continued to ponder of this “parts car”. I wanted the radiator support so I went back on 4/1/98. They wanted $70 for the radiator support if I pulled it. Although that was not a bad price, I asked them how much for the whole car. They said $300 as is. I said I’d take it! I had it towed home where it sat in my yard for several years. Every day I would look at it and I could not help but really fall in love with it and what it had to offer.
I got on the Internet and tracked down the original owner listed on the registration. He was very happy to hear from me. He loved the car but could not keep it anymore. He said he drove it to the junkyard then pulled the cylinder heads off for possible future use. I told him I was thinking of restoring it and he was delighted to deliver the title along with the original heads and paper work. The car to this day still has the words ”crush” written on it in yellow marker over the original green paint. It turns out that the 1970, (backwards facing, third rear seat) Concours Chevelle wagon with a V8 is one of 2,906 produced.
I bought a running 1971 Chevelle wagon to see how I felt about it before going through the full restoration process. Well, my suspicions were confirmed. I loved it. I took trips to Carlisle shows and slept in it, towed cars, took the dogs to the river, etc… I was hooked. I found a 1970 454 4-speed wagon (in the middle of the picture below). I put tags on it “FO FDYFO” for the Ebonics pronunciation of four fifty-four. I sold the 71 because it was in such good original condition and I wanted to start hot rodding it out and I really wanted a 1970 anyway since that is my truly loved year, and maybe not so coincidently just because that was the year I was born. I drove the 70 454-wagon daily for years until it was rear ended on 12/11/02. That gave me the time to disassemble and work on “the super wagon”, my first wagon to the condition it is in today. Currently all of these vehicles are long gone but leave great memories.
Chevelles are more then a passion for me and I hope I can share some of that with you. Please keep these articles because they will appear in each issue in chronological order. I plan on writing about each system as I encounter it in logical order starting with the foundation, the frame. Then rear end and rear suspension mods, rear disc brakes and disc parking brake and 16” temporary wheels. Then moving forward with the front suspension and 12” disc brake upgrade. Then the addition of steering, fuel & brake lines, body bushings etc… on the rolling chassis. Followed by my building of the 486 BB with fuel injection and putting it and a th400 into the chassis with drive shaft and temp exhaust to complete the full rolling chassis minus the body. I will then move on to the body mods and rebuild, finishing up with installing all the power options and interior. Lastly, doing testing and tuning on each system. Sit tight for the ride! I hope you will benefit and enjoy my articles.